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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  September 22, 2015 10:30pm-11:01pm EDT

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i'm ali velshi "on target", stopping the revolving door of low level criminals that spin in and out of america's prisons. a programme let's cops send nonviolent drug addicts to social programs instead of gaol. advocates say it's working. i take to a detective who says not locking up criminals is a big mistake. >> criminologists have a fancy word for the problem of lawmakers that are arrested, released arrested again.
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it's recidivism. thing of a revolving door where repeat offenders go in and out of the system eating up time, money and resources over and over. i'll tell you tonight how some cities are trying to put a stop to the pattern when it comes to nonviolent offenders, including drug addicts. and then talk to a former new york city detective who said not putting criminals in gaol is a mistake. one study found three-quarters of prisoners in united states were rearrested. the rates are higher for prisoners released after serving time for so-called property offenses, like burglary or shoplift of course, and higher for drug crimes. win five years 82% of property offenders were arrested for a new crime and the rate was 77%. many property crimes are committed by drug addicts trying
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to pay for methamphetamine or heroin addicts. cities like seattle, washington, sante fe, albany, new york, are turning to a programme with the acronym lead. law enforce. assisted diversion. it's based on the need that counselling can be more effective than incarceration in converting drug adacts from criminals into -- addicts from criminals into responsible citizens, starting with police officers, empowering them to send an addict to a social service worker instead of central booking. unlike some programs, it does not require that addicts stay clean to remain in the programme. that's a ran police officers have been skeptical about playing a role in a programme that some lump under the hug a thug umbrella. that's the view programs like leader get out of gaol free cards. new evidence that lead is he
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helping to break the cycle of crime and save money is helping to convert some doubters. >> i was homeless because of my addiction. i was strung out on heroin and smoked crack. my day to day life would be going to get drugs or steal something from the stores to sell it so i do get drugs. i did prostitution. all that mattered was feeding my addiction. >> when 34-year-old misty moved from alaska to the united states, this was not the life she envisioned for herself. after years fighting a losing the battle with drugs. she hit rock bottom. >> my drug addiction was so out of control, it ruled my life. >> misty expected to die on the streets alone. one fateful night she was rescued by an unlikely source. >> i went out to go to what we
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call the track, where we meet dates. and then i got picked up by an undercover. >> misty was hauled into a police station, where she anticipated yet another arrest. >> i arrived to speak to a sergeant. at this point i was so tired of being out there and asked to be released so i could get on methadone. he told me will lead. >> it stands for law enforcement assisted diversion. launched in seattle in 2011, a pilot project. funding with 4 million from private foundations. it gives officers a pivotal choice, to arrest a nonviolent law breaker or put them in contact with a lead counsellor to get mental health care, food
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and housing. >> worries, concerns. >> the case manager has been counselling since 2012. >> i put her in a moment to get her off the treats. >> as with many clients, misty was challenging in the beginning. >> we set on appointment to get hamburgers, and i stood for two hours, she didn't show up. instead of me being upset. i would reschedule and say okay, things happen, we'll try again >> the first few months were hard. >> addicts don't need to get off drugs to stay in the programme. i have clients that are in added addiction. not everyone support the programme that appears to law
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breakers a get out of gaol free card. seattle police officer said when the project was first launched, he had his doubts. >> i was sceptic. their drug case disappearing. i thought how are they going to do that. >> some of you may be sitting there saying i'm not buying into it. >> santa fe new mexico police captain knows first hand that arresting criminals and putting them in gaol is what police are trained to do. when the police department became the second in the country to implement, sanchez knew it would not be easy to transform long-established norms. >> i wantening to reduce crimes in santa fe. >> the chief and detective casey
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salagar conduct a seminar to convince officers that keeping some low level offenders out of gaol is the best way to deter future crimes. as i moved no property crimes, there was a direct correlation with heroin users and those arrested. every person roasted for property crime was a heroin addict. >> because of the proximity to the mexican border, new mexico is an epicentre of heroin addiction, it sees double the national rate of overdose death. >> people will do anything to get high. how does gaol scir anyone like that. >> i think it's good. there could be a lot of default
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to it. a lot of people want to get out of something. >> i go into it expecting they are trying to hustle me. my whole thing is once we got the hooks in them, with the case managers. because the case managers stay on them. you arrest them for shoplifting, what happens, off the street for a day. >> stopping the resolving door for arrest is the main object for lead. lead participants were 60% less likely to be arrested than low-level offenders making their way through the traditional justice system. >> kind of a lower income area. there's a lot of drug activity here. >> on patrol, we find out how it is determined who makes it into lead, and who does not. >> that is the first thing i look for, attitude. is it someone that i think may be amenable to treatment.
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>> salizar gets a call of a possible robbery near the mall. the suspects admit to being heroin users, after a background check, they are deemed un suitable for lead. g. >> there was a robbery. domestic assault. they were declined to go into lead. >> lead is a collaboration between city officials, the mayor and the other officers. they are funding from public and private source us. the 100 opiate addicts that landed in gaol cost the tax fairs 4.2 million, an everything of 42,000 per person. it's estimated that the lead programme costs about 34,000 per person. that's a saving of $800,000 over three years.
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>> i got a call from a girl that wants to get in the lead programme. we'll head there. see if she's eligible for the programme. >> salazar spend an hour talking to the 25-year-old, who did not want to appear on camera. >> how long have you been using. >> just heroin. >> everything. >> i don't give up on people easily. >> see if they can... >> a work programme. >> yes. >> yes. >> a work programme. >> i will go to the ends of the earth for you. >> detective salasarened his day feeling optimistic about the latest lead prospect. >> this is one of the better ones. she can be someone that is helpful. >> if she is one of the lucky ones, she'll end up like misty. who has been drug free and finished community college, and is back home in alaska. >> i want to start a lead programme in alaska.
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others can get inspiration from my story, i know that i was the worst of the worse. if i can change, anyone can. >> coming up, a former new york detective who says cops are supposed to fight crime. he says not locking up low-level offenders is a mistake. i'll ask him how that can be in programs like lead reduce residivism and save money.
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talking tonight about a law enforcement programme that some analysts called groundbreaking, lead, law enforcement assistant diversion, giving the ability to
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offer a life-breaking choice to nonviolent criminals. police can place low level drug and prostitutes into community based programs. a former detective said law enforcement officials should not decide whether criminals go into rehabilitation, and it's a mistake not to gaol them. good to see you. people of your expertise, detectives, police officers, you are supposed to be well trained and highly paid. the things that some of these people that we saw in that story need is the services of social workers, therapist, social workers - doesn't seem like the same job. >> let's put that on the shelf. the difficulty is that a lot of times the forest is missed for the trees by well-meaning initiatives of which lead is. they are looking too closely at the dollar. the dollar amount. >> probably higher paid than a case manager.
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>> i got you. theening is the state constitution, in the individual states, with the detective run earlier, very clearly it defines the role of sworn police officers, sworn police officers. protect and serve. then the job description is a series of verbs. deter, detect, observe, report, investigate. nowhere in there is there a statement and assist as a social worker, as an ad hoc social workers, and somehow helping place low level criminal fornds into the programs. >> what is the issue, it's not a responsibility police are trained for, not a constitutional responsibility for police. if you avoid recidivism, which is what we talk about, we are talking economics, it's about community safety and economics. stopping people going to the circle, maybe you can turn them into something more productive. there's a couple of things, not just economics, orecidivism.
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a verb and cost benefit is the deterrent effect. the specific deterrent effect of individuals knowing that when they make their decision, potential criminal makes an assessment of the facts and says do this crime, this is the sanction. without the deterrence, hey, it will be cool. we'll go to the lead programme, it's sighy, it's all good. >> it's problematic. >> you saw the taping of a woman rested, put in the back of the car and is pleading with the police officer. for that person, drug adact. their point of contact may be police. >> more than likely. >> again. it's critical to understand that in these instances. they must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. >> that means mitigating
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factors. like individual low-level funders, who has a gang affiliation, massive mitigating factor. >> you saw police would pull the guys over, realise there's something in the history qualifying them for the programme. i want to take you back to california. >> the ascertain said the way they deal with low-level offenders. you were the police officer, never have i heard a police officer tell me that they are paid well enough. so if you can take a piece of your business away and concentrate on other stuff, is that beater. that also a case manager. and you that understands crime and safety and keeping us safe. >> agreed. >> in terms of sharply defined
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roles, cuties and responsibilities. i have never heard any department say we are paid too much. that's a uniform site. >> if we take some of the work off the police load and get this person off the feet, absolutely. there's a huge factor. that is broader society. you have to question the damage. so on one side you have economics. let's make it all good. on the other side you have individual who have the unwilling recipients, prostitution. they are not victimless crimes. they generate a litany of other crimes. you always have to look at the aerial view. >> your biggest concern is if you take the sanctions away. the current sanction from committing a crime. people will say "i don't go to
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jam, i'll go to a programme." i locked up 1,000 guys, this is what i say. i know about locking them up. i had many late-might conversations with the guys. i understand that their only concern is the leg irons. if they think they'll get a programme, and will trick a deal, there's no more fear. there has to be a deterrent effect. otherwise individuals will be victimized. that's yourself and myself that shouldn't we. >> interesting discussion. >> former new york city police detective and founder and c.e.o. of a consultans affirm. >> coming up. death by overdose for heroin addict. there's a drug that can save an addicts life. police in 29 states carry it. advocates say more needs to be
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done to get the overdose drug into the hands of addicts themselves. that story is next.
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>> i've been asked to keep my voice down
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we've been talking tonight
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about nonviolent offenders who are caught up in the revolving door of america's criminal justice system. many are drug addicts. for them there's a fate worse than prison. tens of thousands of americans die from overdoses. there's a radical new way for doctors to save overdose patients. it doesn't come without controversy. jacob ward reports from san francisco. >> she died in 2005. >> eliza runs a drug overdose education programme in oakland california. the work is hard and personal. >> we sat outside for a long time. she said "i don't know what i'm doing. i'll get it together." it's a blip, you know. she did. and... >> wheeler may not be able to get users into treatment, but can make sure they have access to a miracle drug. narcan.
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an overdose causes the body to forget to breathe. narcan literally knocks opiates off the brain, sobering the victim up. during 2013, the last year for which complete information is available. 16,000 people died of an overdose of prescription opioids. 8,000 died of heroin. in that one year, according to a survey, narcan reversed overdoses 8,000 times, meaning in theory, those 8,000 would be dead. anecdotal evidence suggests the experience of receiving narcan and administering is it can inspire people to seek treatment. >> in clinics where knoll ox i don't know is prescribed we see reduction in overdose death and
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any overdose event. maybe naloxone is acting as a behavioural chaining. >> reporter: narcan is the safest drug in the world. if a paramedic comes across someone, even sugar water, that would kill them. narcan is safe to administer to absolutely anyone in any condition, that is why this stuff an available. not just to emergency personal, but normal people, you and me. >> we take the cap off here. >> paramedics administered narcan, and police carry it as well. but according to wheeler's study drug users saved each other over 80% of the time. that's why wheeler says they mus have narcan too. >> for me, the priority has to be to get it into the hands of people who use drugs. they are the people to witness an overdose. >> remember how to use it. >> what we do is equip people who are out there, using drugs,
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with life-saving tools to use to save their friends, themselves, to take care of each other as a community. it's a hard thing for mainstream america to wrap their mind around. >> patrick, who uses heroin would be dead if he had to wait for an officer or emt. >> while i was in minneapolis i had heroin stronger than i used to. i basically xl oded, i had no time to prepare or save for it. my girlfriend had the training to use narcan, had access, saw i was unconscious and not breathing, put narcan through the nose, which is how she did it and revived me within 5-10 minutes. >> narcan doesn't necessarily mean that a drug user will act more responsibly or seek treatment. for an addict, the use of narcan
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can be a horrible experience. it's instantaneous with all the terrible symptoms that go along with it. it's not a cushy back drop. just as ugly is the fact that narcan is not about treating adirkz, but can help addicts from dying. >> jake joins us now. >> i'm - you know, full disclosure, i do volunteer work involving harm reduction, i understand the point. if i wanted to push back on this, are we not convincing people that should be getting off of heroin or getting into methadone treatment that they don't have to because there's a drug available to get them out of their condition. >> the weight of the argument goes, is that death is not working as a warning away of people from the use of heroin. it is knoll naloxone that is
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keeping them - preventing them frommasing the role of -- from assess g the role of death. if you look at heroin death. 16,000 dying, this is not a function, it's not as if the numbers will go down, would change, because it is available. why would we use death as a log logical outcome of drug use. why not take that away, so people think about and have a second chance assessing the drug in their life. the power of addiction is unbelievable from the work on the subject. i talk about one of things to do in the training is stay with it. if it knocks the drug out of the
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brain, the person goes into intaufl. the narcan goes away. it's not the narcan that is making people use her honour. >> it's why we have people in neth don clinics. >> this is why - we have to think about this as not just illegal heroin drug using, and then the rest of the people using prescription open yads. that is a revolving door. so much so that the veterans, one of the most conservative policy and a number one preb describer of drugs. they are considering a programme to hand out opioids with every prescription. for a military health care facility, a huge arm to decide
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that narcan may be safe and effect difficult. that means that something is at work, and the risk is so great policy makers think they can't take the risk. >> remarkable story. thank you for joining us. that is the show for today. thank you for joining us. [ ♪ ] warm welcome. pope francis immensely popular but sometimes polarizing begins a pilgrimage to the united states state visit - china's presidentin arrives to meet with president obama and top officials, reassuring everyone that china said economy is strong. >> widening scandal. this is a
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